Reframing Art with Nature: Flowers, People, and Art in Bloom

Kelsey Virginia Dufresne

Abstract


In extending Bernard Stiegler’s conceptualizations of life as the economy of death and Alexander Marshack’s historical tracings of early-human artifacts in relation to flowers, I strive to situate and read flowers as media that they carry an embedded history and infrastructure that reflects and challenges the anthropocentrism that has cultivated, commodified, and curated blooms throughout time. In looking to theorists such as Donna Haraway and Jane Bennett, I study a specific event in which flowers are presented to the public as art: the North Carolina Museum of Art’s Art in Bloom. Art in Bloom offers and sustains a complex media ecology, where paintings and sculptures readily and more permanently adorn the gallery spaces, living blooms are used as accompanying pieces of floral art for four days a year, text embeds all signifying information through the museum, money gains admittance to the space, and visitors experience the collective forces of mediation – and contribute to it by documenting their experience through personal digital photography. Such a study of flowers as both media and art must simultaneously recognize the humanist structures blooms are cultivated and commodified within, emphasizing Art in Bloom as a prime instance in which the tensions surrounding nature, gender, art, and media collide – and where traditional perceptions and understandings of what constitutes art is deconstructed and reverted for the human-oriented benefit and economic gains.

How to cite this article: Dufresne, Kelsey Virginia. "Reframing Art with Nature: Flowers, People, and Art in Bloom." AM Journal of Art and Media Studies 25 (September 2021): 67-80. doi: 10.25038/am.v0i25.448

Article received: April 20, 2021; Article accepted: June 21, 2021; Published online: September 15, 2021; Original scholarly paper


Keywords


flowers; natural media; art; museum; gender; culture; art museum; Art in Bloom.

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References


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.25038/am.v0i25.448

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